Fireless cooking with the sac-marmite


The current fight against poverty portrays communities as active players in improving development, though thought and planning needs to go into this transfer of knowledge. In Cameroon, the Government with the help of civil society organisations, has implemented strategies to enable these communities to move from urban slums and rural areas, through developing skills for their effective participation in the sustainable development process. In these areas, biomass fuels, including firewood and charcoal, are the main sources for domestic heating and cooking. These fuels are readily available and most of the time they are free, as many households are landowners and their usage is increasing. As a consequence, there are indoor air pollution issues, increased household fuel expenses, and deforestation, resulting from combustion and the use of biomass fuel in cooking stoves most often in poorly ventilated kitchen environments.

Fondation Camerounaise de la Terre Vivante (FCTV) (a non-profit Cameroonian environmental association) in partnership with Living Earth Foundation UK has been promoting a fireless cooker, called sac-marmite under the Low Carbon Energy Project. From its experience, FCTV has found that the sac-marmite can use around 20-60% less fuel, saves between 20% and 40% in cash on fuel expenditure, and energy efficiency 50-80% compared to the sole use of common stoves (electric and fossil fuel) and make the kitchen smoke free. 1

What is it?

Sac-marmite is an insulated bag into which the food in a pot heated on a stove, continues to cook, while the stove is no longer in use. It is made from poly-cotton fabric and polystyrene balls, rice peels or cotton as an insulator. 

How to use it?

People can cook anything from meaty stews or vegetable curries to simple rice and soups. Cooking with sac-marmite is easy and simple. 

  • Step 1 - Bring your food in a pot on the stove to boil, allowing it to cook for a few minutes depending on your ingredients.
  • Step 2 - After a short while, carry your pot with it lid on from the stove and place it inside the "sac-marmite"
  • Step 3 - Close the lid of the sac-marmite and tight it to make sure that the heat doesn't go out of the bag
  • Step 4 - The food in the pot continues to cook inside the bag and you can remove it or serve food to people at least when the suggested time period has reached.

This novel cooking process shows a commitment to improving the quality of lives through better health, saving money and to improving the environment through sustainable energy use

Image Credit: Wonderbag

1. Final evaluation report of the Low carbon energy Project carried out in February 2015 and available upon request to FCTV